The checkered flag has come down. The man without whom we'd never have sung "Go Speed Racer, go Speed Racer, go Speed Racer, GO!" ... is gone. Peter Fernandez, the actor, voice director and, yes, lyricist for that classic TV theme song, passed away this morning at age 83 of lung cancer.
In addition to being the voice director for Speed Racer, the 1960s' U.S. television adaptation of the Japanese series Mach Go Go Go, Fernandez voiced both Speed, driver of the unbeatable Mach 5, and his brother Racer X.
AND wrote and directed the English-language dubs of the series.
AND came up with those unforgettable lyrics.
Fernandez can also be heard in the English-language dubs of many other Japanese anime series, including Astro Boy, Gigantor, Marine Boy and Star Blazers: The Bolar Wars. He also dubbed many Japanese live-action monster movies, such as Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster and Mothra. He returned to the Speed Racer universe with a cameo appearance as an announcer in the Wachowskis brothers' 2008 live-action film, and he came full circle in his final role as Spritle Racer, Rex and Speed's youngest brother, in 2009's Speed Racer: The Next Generation.
"Anime and Japanese live-action fantasy will never be the same without him," said William Winckler, writer and director of the 1980s series Tekkaman the Space Knight. "Peter's contribution to anime and Japanese live action will live forever."
Now click on the clip below and try not to sing along. Just try.